Assault

Texas law draws a distinction between assault involving a non-family member or family violence involving an intimate partner, family member or person in a dating relationship.

Assault causing bodily injury to another under Penal Code, Sec. 22.01(a)(1) which is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor. The penalties are enhanced based on the status of the victim, the nature of the injury caused, or whether a weapon was used to commit the crime. An assault is charged as a Class C Misdemeanor if the defendant is accused of:

  • intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or
  • intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

An assault is charged as a Class A misdemeanor if the defendant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse.

Attorneys for Assault Crimes in Tarrant County, TX

If you are charged with a crime of violence such as assault causing bodily injury to a family member or non-family member, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas.

We represent clients charged with a variety of violent crimes including assault and aggravated assault. We are experienced in represent men charged with a wide variety of violent crimes including family violence, domestic violence, and dating violence.

Call for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call (817) 422-5350 today.


Felony Assault in the Third Degree for Family Members

Certain types of assault crime can be enhanced to a felony of the third degree if the offense is committed against a family member. To qualify as a family member for this person, it must be proven that the person has a relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code.

The term “family” includes individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Sections 573.022 and 573.024, Government Code, individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are biological parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.

The term “family violence” means an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.

The term “household” means a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.


Assault Against a Family Member with a Prior Conviction

The enhancement to a third-degree felony applies if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Section 20.03, 20.04, 21.11, or 25.11 against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code.


Assault Against a Family Member by Strangulation, Choking or Smothering

The enhancement to a third-degree felony applies if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the family or household member by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth.


Felony Assault Against a Designated Employees

A misdemeanor assault can also be enhanced if it is committed against a designated employee include:

  • a public servant - a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant;
  • a government contractor - apersonwhocontractswithgovernment to perform a service inafacilityasdefinedby Section 1.07(a)(14), Penal Code, or Section 51.02(13) or (14), Family Code, or an employee of that person:
    • while the person or employee is engaged in performing a service within the scope of the contract, if the actor knows the person or employee is authorized by the government to provide the service; or
    • in retaliation for or on account of the person's or employee's performance of a service within the scope of the contract;
  • a security officer - a person the actor knows is a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer; or
  • an emergency service personnel - a person the actor knows is emergency services personnel while the person is providing emergency services.

The defendant is presumed to have known the person assaulted was a public servant, a security officer, or emergency services personnel if the person was wearing a distinctive uniform or badge indicating the person's employment as a public servant or status as a security officer or emergency services personnel.


Felony Assault in the Second Degree

Although an assault for intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another is normally charged as a Class A misdemeanor, the offense can be enhanced to a second-degree felony if: 

  • the offense is committed against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code;
  • it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Section 20.03, 20.04, or 21.11 against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code; and
  • the offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth.

Other Enhancements for Assault Offenses

Although an assault for threatening another with imminent bodily injury or an offensive contact is normally charged as a Class C misdemeanor, the offense can be enhanced as follows:

  • a Class A misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a)(3) against an elderly individual or disabled individual, as those terms are defined by Section 22.04; or
  • a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed by a person who is not a sports participant against a person the actor knows is a sports participant either:
    • while the participant is performing duties or responsibilities in the participant's capacity as a sports participant; or
    • in retaliation for or on account of the participant's performance of a duty or responsibility within the participant's capacity as a sports participant.

Enhancements for an Assault with a Prior Conviction

When determining whether the penalty should be enhanced because of a prior conviction, the Texas assault statute provides that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense listed in those subsections committed against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code, if:

  • the defendant was adjudged guilty of the offense or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere in return for a grant of deferred adjudication, regardless of whether the sentence for the offense was ever imposed or whether the sentence was probated and the defendant was subsequently discharged from community supervision; and
  • a conviction under the laws of another state for an offense containing elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense listed in those subsections is a conviction of the offense listed.

To establish that a defendant has been convicted of a prior offense, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • a prior conviction exists; and
  • the defendant is linked to that conviction.

The courts in Texas have found that no specific document or mode of proof is required to prove these two elements. Instead, any type of evidence, documentary or testimonial, might suffice to prove this connection.


Aggravated Assault Crimes in Texas

Under Texas Penal Code Section 22.02(a), the crime of aggravated assault may be committed in only two ways:

  • by causing serious bodily injury; or
  • by using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.

Each way of committing aggravated assault involves the use of a deadly weapon. The first way of committing aggravated assault—causing serious bodily injury—necessarily implies the use of a deadly weapon, which is “anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.” The second way of committing aggravated assault actually describes the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon.

Crimes for aggravated assault can be charged as a first or second-degree felony depending on the circumstances and the special status of the victim. For a case involving family violence, this offense is charged as Aggravated Family Violence Assault.


Finding an Attorney for Assault Crimes in Fort Worth, Texas

If you were arrested for intentionally or knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another, then you should find an attorney in Fort Worth in Tarrant County who can help you aggressively fight the charges. Our attorneys represent clients charged with offenses related to an assault on another, a family member or a public servant. 

The criminal defense attorneys at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represent clients charged with assault by intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another, a family member, or a public servant.

Call to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about defending you against any crime of violence including assault or aggravated assault. We also represent clients charged with aggravated family violence assault.

Let us put our experience to work for you. Call (817) 422-5350 today.


This article was last updated on Friday, April 14, 2017.